Smart Growth Audits (PAS 512)

By Jerry Weitz, FAICP, Leora Waldner

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A look at how a local government can examine the "genetic codes" of its planning — the regulations and plans that govern development — to determine whether those codes are programmed to facilitate sprawl or smart growth.

This report describes the concept of a smart growth audit and provides methods to implement one in your community. Examples from a state (Illinois), re...

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Page Count
Date Published
Jan. 1, 2003
APA Planning Advisory Service

About the Authors

Jerry Weitz
Jerry Weitz earned his bachelor of science degree from Emory University in 1983 in history and political science and a master of city planning degree from Georgia Tech in 1985 (emphasis in land use and environmental planning) Jerry Weitz has been a practicing planner since 1985 and a member of AICP since 1987. He started professional work in local government in Georgia, for Roswell, Fulton County, Albany-Dougherty County, then the Georgia Mountains Regional Development Center (now Regional Commission). He moved to the Portland, Oregon, region in 1994 and worked part time for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development and Cowlitz County, Washington, Department of Building and Planning while pursuing his Ph.D. in urban studies at Portland State University. which he completed in December 1998. Weitz relocated back to the Atlanta, Georgia, region in 1999, rejoining a prior employer (City of Roswell). He began his own consulting firm in 2001, Jerry Weitz & Associates, Inc., a job he holds today. Weitz has also kept a foot in the door of the academy, having completed adjunct teaching assignments at Portland State University, Kennesaw University, and Georgia Tech. He has also held program director positions at Troy University (Atlanta site) in public administration and at East Carolina University in urban and regional planning (tenured associated professor). Weitz was elected to the College of Fellows of AICP in 2008. From 2010 to 2015 Weitz was also associate professor and director of the urban and regional planning program at East Carolina University. Weitz's specialties are growth management and preparing and administering local land use regulations. Weitz is author of several publications including the Book Sprawl Busting: State Programs to Guide Growth (1999), PAS reports on Smart Growth Audits (2002 with Leora Waldner) and Jobs-Housing Balance (2003), and several peer reviewed journal articles on growth management. He also authored the user guide to the APA Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook. His professional work has been recognized with awards. He is author of The Ethical Planning Practitioner (APA Planners Press, 2015).

Leora Waldner

Table of Contents

What is smart growth?

What is a smart growth audit?

Things to consider before conducting an audit

Lessons learned from existing audits

What are the alternatives for conducting an audit?

Implementation guidelines/steps

Issues of effectiveness and a list of do's and dont's


Appendix A. A recommended comprehensive smart growth audit checklist with commentary

Appendix B. List of references and additional resources

Appendix C. APA policy statement on smart growth

Appendix D. Growth quality programs in Georgia